The media tend to ask President Obama questions that are needlessly complicated and easily evaded. Often they are process questions (Can you win the youth vote?) or setups for him to slam Mitt Romney. Here are 10 simple queries requiring only a yes or no answer. Someone, a debate moderator perhaps, should put these to him:
1. Did your economic plan work?
2. Do you believe entrepreneurs are primarily responsible for their success?
3. Do you think the private sector is doing fine?
4. Can you say without qualification that no one in the White House leaked national security secrets?
5. Will you do whatever is necessary to stop “devastating” cuts to national security?
6. If the expiration of Bush tax cuts causes more job losses, will you still support it?
7. Would you agree to return to the actual Clinton-era top marginal tax rates (without the additional 3.8 percent for Medicare) and Clinton spending levels?
8. Do you regret ignoring the Simpson-Bowles debt plan?
9. When you visited the Western Wall in 2008, were you standing in Israel?
10. If you consider Bashar al-Assad to be committing war crimes, do you have a moral obligation to stop him, by force if need be?
Frankly, that these should be problematic or even hard for him suggests his essential problem in the race. When not allowed to smear his opponent or explain an issue (rather than evaluate his own response to it) he falters.
Now he could be asked some factual questions. (Why did you refer to the 1967 “borders” when no such thing exists? How many more people are not working today than when you took office? How much has been added to the debt since you’ve been president?) But that might appear to suggest Obama doesn’t know basic facts essential to his job. So let’s stick with the 10 above.
That he hasn’t been asked these obvious and fundamental questions is further proof of the unseriousness of our media. Or maybe they are very serious about avoiding substance in this campaign.